Monday, November 28, 2011

Cookies for Santa

Welcome back!  I hope all of our Naturally Sweet Sisters friends had a lovely Thanksgiving.  As remarkable as it can be, blood glucose x2 managed to stay in a decent range through the pie, potatoes, cranberries and stuffing that made it's way back to our dining table over the weekend.  For that, I am very thankful!

As I mentioned, when type 1 diabetes first came into our world, it was Christmas time.  As new parents to the "type 1 diabetes with holidays" scene, the dilemma of leaving cookies for Santa instantly presented a huge problem. 

We had just returned from a week long stay at our children's hospital and were immediately plunging into the first Christmas, without a clue as to what we were doing.


Should we leave cookies out if we weren't even sure if our newly diagnosed youngest daughter should be eating cookies in the first place?  And how many carbs were in a frosted sugar cookie with sprinkles? 

If we only left out carrots, would that be ok?  Or would that present a problem because carrots had carbs as well?  And would Santa have to wrestle with Rudolph to eat them? 

What to do?  What to do?

Because of our worries and fears, we did nothing.  We ended up leaving Santa a very nice drawing from each daughter and absolutely no food. Which was fine for our 3 and 5 year-old.  They were less worried about what Santa was receiving than what they would be receiving the next morning.

To us as parents, doing nothing just didn't feel right. 

This was long before another one of our great a-ha moments:  kids first, diabetes second.

From that point, we begin to encounter many more holidays. 

Valentines Day, Easter, Fourth of July (and as a side note, did you even think of all of the food before type 1 diabetes?), birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving and the list goes on.

What we had to learn was to celebrate them all with very little change and perhaps only modifying a bit with common sense. 

We had to get over our fear.

Yes, there will be mistakes and yes, there will be moments that we wished had gone better.  We are not perfect and even though we attempt it everyday, we are not pancreases.

We do however, have only one shot at that particular day of the year.  We also know that our children will only be little one time.  So, with a little diabetes skill and knowledge, we are out there, making memories that will last a lifetime.

To survive the onslaught of holiday fun, here are a few helpful tips:

1.)  Put everything on a plate.  It is a visual to help you to remember to count portion size and add up all of the carbs.  It also makes you think about bolusing if you are an insulin pump. 

2.)  Consider combo bolusing.  If you see a buffet that is loaded with things that you love but you may want to graze and mingle.  Give yourself a bolus spread out over an hour and delivering half of your insulin now, and half of your insulin later.  My girls love to do this because they feel like they are less bogged down by the diabetes and more able to relax and enjoy.  Just remember to eat all of the carbs that you bolused for.  Holding that plate in your hand until you are done helps to keep that reminder in check.

3.)  Try that thing that you is calling your name, even if you are unsure of the carb counts.  We often encourage the girls to sample new foods, especially the ones that are visually appealing.  I have learned a few things... one, sometimes that food is so delicious and so wonderful that you can't believe you haven't ever tried it before and sometimes, it stinks and you decide you never want to see, smell or taste it again!  I know this sounds like the only two choices, but there is a third and that is not eating, obsessing about it and then over-eating something that you didn't want in the first place.  Raising two little girls makes me very aware of the third possibility and it is one that I want to keep them far, far, far away from.

4.)  Enjoy the holidays.  That first Christmas post diagnosis was terrible.  I spent all of my energy worrying about the food aspect.  Quite surprisingly, the food is only a tiny bit of what makes each holiday so wonderful.  I now look at it from a bigger picture.  The magic that we make is much more enticing.  From writing and visiting Santa, to shopping for special gifts, to attending holiday parades and shows, watching old Christmas movies and decorating the trees... well you get the picture, none of that is about type 1 diabetes.  It is about having fun.

5.)  Santa does like cookies.  Don't fret.  A cookie carb is easily counted for Santa and I hear that he really loves peanut butter kiss cookies just like my husband. 

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